But seriously …. are you serious?

Recent comments/postings have prompted me to put up this

Regarding retirement in other (cheaper) countries:

Like many Silverhaired members, I was attracted by the
wonderful prospect of “doubling my retirement funds”. Imagine this – Take my Singapore
dollars, change them into ringgit or Thai Baht or Rupiahs, tah-dah, I have
twice/thrice the amount of money – to spend in these countries. I can buy a cheap(er)
property, employ a cheap(er) maid, eat cheap(er) food…. You get the idea –
living cost is a lot cheaper in these other countries.

What’s the catch?


Our neighbouring countries are “politically and economically
less stable”.

Yes – go ahead and have a good laugh. I have modified this
statement to be “politically correct”.

Yep – I don’t want the gahment OR other countries’ gahment
to hantum me.

But seriously – back to point one –

Several months ago, I tried to organize a day trip to recce
JB for retirement living.  The response
was quite dismal. Only four people put up their hands. The trip was
cancelled. These are the mistakes I have made –


I was misled by the NATO people.

People kept talking about “retiring in another (cheaper)
country”. Do they really want to do something about it? I guessed not. When the
opportunity arose for these people to check it out, only five people (including
me) were seriously interested.  


I tried to draw a lively discussion on the (THAT) forum, by
inviting people to share their experiences on line. People were shy. If they
share their bad experiences, they feel embarrassed. If they share their good
experiences, they fear that they will draw unnecessary attention upon

BUT – they did write to me privately – and I thank them –
thank you for sharing.

These pointers are gleaned from their personal feedback to
me (not in any particular order) –

The immigration ppl will play tricks on you; make you “do
naked squats”, will not stamp your passports…

Don’t show off your Rolex watches; don’t drive your
Singapore registered cars; don’t open your mouth to speak (they’ll know you are

Live in “gated, and gurkha-guarded communities”.

“Live in” – literally. DO NOT leave your property
unattended. When you buy the property, live in it.  

It is NOT a good idea to buy a property and then leave it

To really have a good idea about how you will adapt to the
foreign country:

Rent a unit for one
year. Live in that country for one year. If you enjoy your stay, then you may
consider buying a property. BEFORE YOU DO – ensure that you know everything you
need to know about “foreigners buying a local property”. Ask for detail. If you
don’t understand a vague print, use a magnifying glass. DO NOT be intimidated
by legal jargon. You have the right to understand the terms in layman language.

Do not buy a foreign property for the purpose of renting it
out.  It is NOT easy to rent it out.

Do not buy a foreign property for use as a “vacation
home”.  DO NOT leave your house vacant.
Thieves will break in.

Some of us have already moved to JB, successfully. They say,
“Blend in, don’t stand out.” 

Thus, you
will not see them waving a red banner with yellow print proclaiming, “We are
Singaporeans living in JB.”

End of their feedback.

Silverhairs members have toyed with the idea of retiring in
Chiang Mai, Yunnan, JB, Penang, Batam, Bandung…

The most important consideration – are you willing to leave
your family and friends in Singapore?

Even if the answer is vaguely “maybe….” I’d encourage you to spend a little more time to re-evaluate your

That was all I wish to share with you.

I wish you all the best.

This entry was posted in Self Reflections, Chit chats, SHC Monthly gatherings, Short Term Living Overseas by Jacqueline Han. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jacqueline Han

I am amazed at what one man can do. And I meant – the one man who had created and founded this silver hairs club. Terence Seah – please take a bow! You have founded this silver hairs club providing opportunities for people to connect and to learn from each other. More importantly, the opportunities to enjoy ourselves together. Hi Everyone, I’d like to introduce myself, briefly – I am a practical and introspective person. I live my life in a minimalistic, no frills manner. That could be because my growing up years were frugal. I grew up in an attap hut built on stilts on swampy land. By some lucky twist of fortune – life’s events have somehow unfolded in my favour. Society uses material possessions as yardsticks of success. If I use the same yardsticks? I think I am not doing so badly… I chose to retire early last year. I wanted a change of environment. I wanted to explore other opportunities. With that in mind – I had spent several months in Melbourne. While there, I had volunteered at a charitable organization, and had taken up a TEFL course. (TEFL stands for Teach English as a Foreign Language.) Yes – I am a recently certified TEFL teacher. I am toying around with the idea of teaching English in China. Or – I could volunteer to teach English to the underprivileged. I am excited at the prospect and the possibility. But I am not adamant about it. I go with the flow – depending on which way the river flows…. My “psycho-analyst” had told me that my “material success was not all just luck” – and that I should give myself credit for having clambered out of the poverty pit. That is the other thing about me – I don’t give myself enough credit. Generally, we tend to underestimate ourselves. This could be the result of our Asian upbringing: our parents usually do not approve of any “self praise”. Yep - we have been deeply ingrained to be modest about our achievements. So much so, that we forget to pat ourselves on our backs. Career wise: my younger days were in the banking industry. In later years, I was an administrator with a MNC. At present, gainfully unemployed. Interest wise: I enjoy keeping fit, reading, writing and travels. I love to read – books on philosophy and psychology, and the mysteries of life – known scientifically or unknown as yet. For lighter reading, I love science fictions to tickle my imagination, books on self-development; or health and nutrition. Travels - I love natural beautiful scenery rather than man-made buildings. Although I must say that I was quite impressed with several centuries old cathedrals and Egypt’s pyramids. I enjoy my moments of solitude. I seem to need more “alone time” than many people I know. I enjoy doing absolutely nothing. I could be seated on a bench in crowded Orchard Road, or seated on a swing in a quiet playground. To keep fit and healthy - I exercise daily by climbing stairs to the 19th floor of a tall building. It is an easy way to exercise, no need to book a court (for tennis/badminton), rain or shine I can still climb the stairs. I also have a simple diet regime whenever the pounds creep up on me. If any one is interested, I’d be happy to share it with you. I look forward to meeting like-minded members during the monthly get-together. Till then, I wish you all the best. May the rest of your life, be the best of your life.

47 thoughts on “But seriously …. are you serious?

  1. Hi Jacq,

    Everything you say is true.

    There are many dangers and pitfalls in staying in M’sia. It’s no secret that there are many disappointed foreign property owners. Disappointed because they have no valid land titles, had their houses burgled, furniture carted away, even by their tenants, condo management insolvent because there are many residents who don’t pay their dues, tenants who don’t pay their rents for years, lack of security, in or out of the compound, at various times of the day, even after you have been a resident/citizen for all your life etc.
    There are so many stories, you can write a book. The more you ask, the worse the stories are. Add to that institutionalised corruption, institutionalised inefficiency. The reason Singaporeans still want to ’emigrate to Msia’ is not because they want to emigrate there. They just want the best of both worlds. Ie Strong S$, leading to higher purchasing power, ie chaeper food, rents, cars, entertainment etc.
    THerefore you have to maintain 2 house, 2 cars, 2 sets of clothes, 2 PCs, 2 laptops, etc., etc. This must be expensive and will negate the cost savings.
    So to have the best, or better of both worlds, you must find a way to bridge them. Ie rent a residence, use the same Singapore car in Msia, maybe even a weekend car, no need to have 2 sets of clothes, 1 PC (in Sgp), and 1 laptop for travelling, etc.
    To save even more if you can arrange to rent the house in SGp and time your travel experiment to stay in rentals abroad, you can be even more efficient. Eg, rent out your Sgp house, stay in Msia for up to 6 months, and Thailand for the other 6 months.

    After 6 months or a year, you should know yourself where you would like to put up. If not continue till you are confident to decide. Everything in Thailand is cheaper than Msia, than Sgp. Add to that, everything in Laos is cheaper than Thailand, than Masia than Sgp.

    If you want to try it, you must plan for it. not wait for others to plan for you or with you. If you can structure the big ticket items, like house and car, it is very doable, and easily replicated in another country.

    Entry and visa regulations? Very easy in ASEAN. They usually give you one to three minths visa, unrequested. Even if you are given 2 weeks, you can easily arrange to trip out and double back in a day or so and have a new entry visa.

    Language? You have to find some way of using the time in any country, and learning a language is easier and fun while you are immersed.

    So what are you waiting for?

    Why haven’t I done it? Because my daughter is still 10 years old and my mum is 87. I am sandwiched.

  2. Hi Jacg

    You certainly give a factual write-up on the subject of retirement in other countries. It reforces the angst of living abroad where there are bountiful uncertainties.
    Nevertheless, imageries of retiring to a cheap and spacious place of residence persist in the minds of Singaporeans.
    What are then the alternatives?
    Perhaps we can compromise by renting a place or sharing to buy a property and stay for short periods of 1-2 months. This will narrow down the risk and we will not be uprooted. This is more pragmatic and feasible.

  3. Hi Robert,

    I see you are also interested in staying like a local abroad. Me too.
    Don’t get caught in thinking that real estate will always go up. Singaporeans’experience in real estate is coloured by their own limited experience. Check out the historical appreciaion of real estate, especially in lesser developed countries and it might be surprising.

    Terence has offered his house for only S$30/day. This is a good deal (not for Terence), somemore you don’t have to pay a premium for short stays. compare this with serviced apartment rates in Bkk. This is a better and more viable alternative than buying.

    But Bkk can be too fast moving for a Sgpn to stay. Perhaps Chaing Mai be a better choice.

    Better attend the meeting with Kenneth and Richard Lim to find out more. I cannot go as I have a prior appointment.


  4. Hi Jacqueline, and those considering living overseas during their retirement,

    Some 20 years ago, I had the same feeling like you. First, I considered retiring in Thailand; it was possible for me because my wife is Thai and I had worked in the country. It makes sense. There were clear advantages. For me, I think there is no doubt I will still pursue this direction, even though I still travel extensively.

    Second, I knew a number of friends from Korea, Taiwan and Singaporeans who are also keen to retire overseas, including Thailand. But, for various reasons, the dreams do not come true. Retiring overseas is a serious matter. It involves family roots, money and lifestyle. When SHC started, this was one of the key topics. I notice this retirement overseas is widely supported and discussed, but not pursued. When SHC members organised trips overseas, it is usually leisure travel. About a week or a few days, why? because they have to work or they cannot leave their family behind. The roots are here. Which explains why some two years later, I readjusted the topic to 3-months short-term living overseas, rather than long term retirement overseas.

    It’s is an interesting topic. I think many Singaporeans are serious and considering this issue. I dont think they are NOT serious. But, circumstances dont permit. Which is why I advocate, take 2-3 months off. Stay wherever the destination country you like. Try it. Not alone, but with your partner, friend or someone or with another member of SHC.

    Terence Seah

  5. Many, many years ago when I just graduated, all my friends were applying for jobs, much like the case now.

    Instead I back-packed to Europe. My mum bought me an Aeroflot ticket(give you a tip, never ever travel Aeroflot, even if you don’t have money) to London, and a 1 month Eurail pass. I had some savings from my NS days, about $2k. I managed to stay with a friend’s cousin in London because I knew London was expensive. When I left London for Europe, she said I would be back in a week or two. She laughed when I said I intended to travel for a month, the duration of my Eurail ticket.

    I ended up in Europe for 3 months, did not work 1 single day, never had to sleep in the park or open and had a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. When I came back to London, I hitched hiked up to Inverness, visiting the Lake Districts, Loch Lomond, Loch Ness, Edinburgh, Stirling, Birmingham etc.

    In total I was there for just over 4 months. I would have continued had not the Army threatened to charge me for overstaying my exit permit. After all the extensions, they refused to extend my permit further. So like a good, law-abiding Singaporean, I came back. Found a job, and worked for 5 years.

    When I came back, before I started work, I would visit my friends and tell them of my adventures. They would buy me lunch and give me advice on getting a job. Some of them started back-packing later on in their careers and all of them never regretted back-packing in Europe.

    I tell you this, so as to encourage you to travel outside Singapore and widen your horizon, not the geographical type but the mental and social barriers. People are helpful and kind if you are smiley and humble, and your experience will be richer, your insight deeper.

    It is never too late until you cannot get out from your bed unassisted.


  6. Gentlemen, my apologies… i’ve only just logged in….

    Charles Chua #1
    I got the impression that you are the “Rambo type – shoot first, ask questions later”… I was wrong.

    Thank you for your well-thought out comment. I especially empathize with this remark –

    “Why haven’t I done it? Because my daughter is still 10 years old and my mum is 87. I am sandwiched.”


    Most of us belong to this sandwich generation. Our retirement resources need to support our aged parents, as well as, provide for our children. For a few fortunate retirees, our children are financially independent. However, our aged parents will depend on us till their last breath. For a few other retirees, they are still trying to see their children through university…

    The lot of the sandwich generation could be subject for another thread… perhaps, you could author that?

    All the best, Charles.

  7. Hi Robert Ong at #2

    Thank you for your comment.

    “Nevertheless, imageries of retiring to a cheap and spacious place of residence persist in the minds of Singaporeans.”

    Yes – whenever I visited my friends in KL, I see their spacious abode… I do wish that I live in such spacious environment…

    “What are then the alternatives?
    Perhaps we can compromise by renting a place or sharing to buy a property and stay for short periods of 1-2 months.”

    Those are good ideas, Robert. Perhaps Terence and Daniel Kang could take note of those input, and include viewing some rental properties, for participants to consider ya?

    Keep the thinking cap on! I hope your plans materialize for you. All the best.

  8. Terence Seah at #4

    Hi Terence,

    You have been a strong advocate for this subject – “Retirement in a foreign country”. And I thank you for your words of encouragement and appreciation, when I was organizing a “look see trip to JB” a few months ago.

    Certainly – uprooting oneself and one’s family to a foreign land, is a colossal task. CERTAINLY, NOT for the faint hearted.

    You’ve strike the nail on the head, in saying,

    “But, circumstances dont permit. Which is why I advocate, take 2-3 months off. Stay wherever the destination country you like. Try it. Not alone, but with your partner, friend or someone or with another member of SHC.”

    You are right –

    There are so many “circumstances” to consider. I would encourage those planning to retire to another country, to first consider all YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

    After you have garnered your spouse/partner/family’s “vote of confidence”, and support, then – off you go. Nothing else to stop you.

    To you, Terence, and all those planning to retire to another country – I wish you all the best. May your plans materialize. Live long and prosper.

  9. Hi
    Believe some of u r aware tt I’m organizing a sharing session this coming Sat on retirement in Chiang Mai.

    Well, not much of a response so far :( It’s ok :) It’s a learning to manage expectation. Reading many related postings, believe some r “drown” with too many considerations, some r tired of this retirement overseas topic, etc, etc.

    Nonetheless, there’ll be some who’ll be interested as we know from statistics tt several thousand totally uproot & migrate overseas from Sg, both young & old, not just retire.

    Learnt alot from here, only lacking is location specific details, which wld be good to hear from those who’ve experience there. Then as all suggested, plan a long stay there b4 making d decision to retire there :)

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with d 1st step. So for those serious enou, d journey wld hv began! The dream hv been there, just d actions to make it come thru.

    Tks to those who’ve extended help, esp to d extent of organizing trips there. Even if d response hv been disappointing, d appreciation hv been shown :)

    “Somewhere out there … where dreams come true” :)

  10. Hi, Aeden, please do not lose HOPE..It takes time to ‘promote’
    the idea..As we are ruled by the most efficient government in
    the world, it is natural for most of us feeling a little unsure of stepping out of this 700sqKM island to go & live
    somewhere unknown with language barrier, security issues,
    integration consideration etc etc..Managing expectations for the NEW environment is a challenge to people at our age when we do not LIKE changes too much as we are used to our comfort zones. Ask anyone who moves from AMK to Pasir panjang and he/she will tell you they miss the hawker stalls
    or the fish man in their old market..
    I have been dreaming to live OUTSIDE Singapore for a long time..but different country each time because i enjoy learning different culture & history & cuisines etc..
    Why not considering ‘house swap’ option for members ? It is
    very common in the West. For me, i plan to rent short-term
    2-3 mths in a country and live like a local eg. In Bandung
    where you can learn Batik craft from old establishments for
    2 days and learn the art of appreciation Gamelon for the next few days and visit a local artist or silver smith and
    watch his creativity at work..or learn traditional cooking
    from a local Ibu/Macik.
    We all need to do something enrich our life and enjoy the town/village we live in. How about giving FREE English/Chinese lesson to the village kids ? teach Singaporean cooking to the local women so that they can run
    a cafe to earn a better living..These are things i have in mind if i were to join friends living abroad.For those experienced businessmen, why not helping some locals to re-structure their business by offering FREE consultancy..
    I always believe to enrich others, we are enriching our souls.
    Please excuse me if my views do not make sense to you
    as i am a newbie in SHC. Thank you.

  11. One very good advise I can give from my own experience is don people buy overseas just because its cheap and they offer you rental return guaranteed 6 yrs. I bought one in Malacca very cheap only RM180,000/- 2 bedroom aprt very nice fully furnish 1st 3 yrs 10% rental of your purchase price then after that they tell you economy no good cut to 5% for the next 3 yrs what can you say at the time of buying you already plan for a 6 yr instalment loan repayment. We wasted a lot of lawyers fee fighting the mgt for not keeping their contract agreement but what can you say you plan for a 6 yrs loan repayment then hve to top up every month for the next 3 yrs. So think very carefully before you embark on one best is keep the property you have in Singapore rent it out if you want to live overseas on a rental basis. I still say Chiangmai cos my brother did a few years of survey in many countries before he decided to settle in Chiangmai. Janet Loo

  12. Wah…lots of interesting comments/ideas! Fantastic!! Hope to go Chiangmai one day for a vacation (Not to buy a property there though). Heard from friends that it is a cool beautiful place. Go trekking and visit their beautiful parks perhaps.

  13. Indeed –

    “The journey of a thousand miles begins with d 1st step.”

    Hi Aeden Tang #9 –
    Good quote!

    I totally agree with that. And that was exactly what I was thinking. Thus, I thought to take “the first step”, by going to the (retirement) country, take a look-see, ask questions, learn. Then, and only then – will I decide.

    Renting a unit there, and living as a local, for 6-12 months first, is definitely a smart choice.

    You are taking “the first step”, Aeden. I hope you have a fruitful discussion on 11 Feb. Please share your findings (good or bad) with us.

    May your dreams come true.

  14. Felice @ #10 –

    “For me, i plan to rent short-term 2-3 mths in a country and live like a local eg. In Bandung where you can learn Batik craft from old establishments for 2 days and learn the art of appreciation Gamelon for the next few days and visit a local artist or silver smith and watch his creativity at work… We all need to do something enrich our life and enjoy the town/village we live in. How about giving FREE English/Chinese lesson to the village kids?”

    You have wonderful suggestions. Are you fully retired yet?

    Or, still “long way to go”?

    When your plans do materlize, please keep me in the loop. Please write to me – email jacqhan@gmail.com. If the timing is right, I might just “come along”.

  15. Janet Loo @ #11

    “We wasted a lot of lawyers fee fighting the mgt for not keeping their contract agreement.”

    Hi Janet, thank you for your note of caution. It’s “very brave” of you to share your bad experience.

    Yep – I had a cousin in KL, who had a clear “open and shut case” in his favour. Yet – the defendant managed a “delay tactic”. The court case was postponed and postponed. For SIX YEARS!

    Eventually, my cousin had no choice but to “settle out of court”. He got only 10 percent of his rightful claim. He simply want to “cut loss and move on”.

    Lesson learned? In some countries, a contractual agreement is NOT worth the paper it’s printed on.

  16. I have difficulty understanding why people want to retire anywhere but Singapore. Here are the reasons why I think Singapore is the best place to retire.

    1. The expensive items for Singapore living are, Housing and Cars. But one do not need a car in Singapore because public transport is far better than many country you plan to go.

    2. Most of you already have a house here. If you do not have a place to stay in Singapore now, most likely you need to work so hard that it is unlikely that you will have time to log in here.

    3. We have a good airport and can have assess to anywhere in the world. Definitely more convenient then the places you thing of going.
    4. Healthcare here is among the best in the world and in close approximity. Yes it is expensive and can bankrupt you. But if you are already poor, there is not much they can take away from you. I have not heard of anyone denied treatment because of inability to pay. The places you plan to go may have cheap health care but you have to have a cheap body to withstand their treatment.

    5. You have family and friends here. One cannot live in a place just because it is cheap and/or the weather is good. They say ‘you cannot live on fresh air alone’.

    I think Janet Loo’s brother have the most practical way of living abroad. Rent a place so that you can come back or move on when you are bored or need to return quickly when you need family help.

    This is just to stimulate discussion only. Don’t call me names if I spoil you dreams.

  17. Tian Soo – if I may call you names……..I shall call you a practical and pragmatic man (pap? ooops!!)

    I agree with all the 5 points you have mentioned. Just for the sake of talk talk, let me try to give an answer to the puzzle in your first line.

    We are always seduced with the beautiful scenes of countries near and far from the tour companies – vast land, natural surroundings, tranquil sea and high mountains. We are also aware,from reports, research, hearsay etc,of the very affordable food and other commodities – something that we are desperately deprived of in Singapore. Or so it seems. In short, every other country seems to offer a more beautiful dream than ours.

    But lets dwell deeper. I can understand if people go abroad to expand their career (talking about professionals as these are the people who are really mobile), enlarge their businesses or extend a “better” education for their children. The opportunities are plenty and it is always about money and children.

    Retiring? Go away? After having stayed in Singapore for a long long time? Why, where and how? I do not travel much but I don’t fancy those attractive sights presented by the tour companies. Neither do I spend much, so affordability or the lack of it, is easily solved.

    No Tian Soo, I don’t think you are not spoiling anybody’s dream. On the contrary, you may be helping someone to escape a nightmare.

  18. #17 last line correction – No Tian Soo, I don’t think you are spoiling anybody’s dream. On the contrary, you may be helping someone to escape a nightmare. (Sorry – mistake during rephrasing of sentence)

  19. My intention to live oversea for a couple of mths a year
    in different countries is to EXPERIENCE life OUTSIDE this
    700sqKM spot..Tian Soo, i beg to differ one or two of your points 1) yes, we have family & friends here BUT we have very
    different thinking/dreams..I for one, feel my soul is ‘trapped’ in this CITY STATE for the last XXX yrs cos’ i do
    not enjoy ‘shopping’ like some ladies so with our malls here
    opening up one after another DO NOT entice me at all..
    I prefer rustic living even in an Island off Malaysia eg.
    Pulau Besar, Pulau Sibu..in a attap-cottage with limited
    electricity supplies (Generator) but FACING THE SEA..Can you
    imagine the first thing in the morning you open your eyes,
    you look out from your bed and you can see the sea & the
    sky..and you can go walking along the beach with your wife..
    I did this for many yrs with my busy husband & kids 17 yrs
    ago for 5 times in a year..Gosh, WE NEVER FORGET THAT PART
    OF OUR FOND MEMORIES…For me, MEMORIES with good experience ARE MOST PRECIOUS THINGS..WE were SO glad we did those things together before our kids turned 14,this also taught them to learn at a young age of 4 to see SPACE outside SG &
    appreciate beauty of NATURE..They walked, swam & caught star
    fish, sea Urchins & crabs with Daddy meant CATCHING UP with
    lost weeks when my husband was out of town..NOW, the kids
    are ‘flying’ out emotionally from the Nest though physically
    still around..OLD FOLKS like us should also leave our OLD NEST to EXPERIENCE other nests in the world..Trust me, i was
    a volunteer in Hospics Care before 12 yrs ago at 41 yrs old,
    i learnt lessons of Life esp on our last DAYS/MTHS….
    from listening to conversation with people there..YOU would
    have no bitterness when you feel your life overall has been
    well-lived and you have fond memories to recall or share on
    the remaining days with caregiver..as your dreams are fulfiled and your Days won’t be lonely and sad..
    2) WE need to take care of our health NOW, so that anyway we
    go we DO NOT need to look for Doctors, hospitals..I always
    tell my husband that our retirement yrs are not to visit
    & QQQQ long time in hospital, waiting for test etc..SORRY,
    I am realistic to REALITIES..as RETIREMENT means Freedom from TIME, REPONSIBILITIES, LEISURE, no burden if possible..
    what FUN do we have when we have to remember doctors appt.
    week after week? So, NO BAD FOODCOURT/HAWKER FOOD is one of
    the realities to prepare WELL for RRRRR
    3) you can ‘make’ new friends, learn their culture & just be
    FREE of SINGAPOREAN mindset is quite GOOD for few mths..
    may be, you can find WOW, that is great, so easy going..!!
    4) Learn NEW things in a new environment so that we feel being young again..pick up a hobby like cooking for your wife, gardening, join a book-club, learn a NEW language..
    OR re-learn CHINESE..ALL these add excitement & enrichment to life..
    Of course, your concern are valid to some people but there
    are people out there unsure with RRRRRR..just my humble opinion, hope you do not mind; you are SENOIR here from
    what i read, so do excuse me if a newbie shares a different
    view..Thank you.

  20. Hi Felice

    I love your idea of living in different countries several months a year. I would love to do it too. However, since I am still working full time, I have to put these thoughts on hold.

    Its really nice to wake up with no cares in the world, a beautiful beach at your doorstep, lovely breeze blowing at your face and time to indulge in your pastime.

    I do not travel alone because I am afraid to sleep alone. I always imagine the worst that can happen to me. I am afraid of too many things like creeply crawlies and the unknown. That is why I have not thought about retiring and doing all these things just yet.

    Maybe, someday when I have found enough courage and like minded friends and am ready to retire, I will definitely want to try out something like this before my legs cant carry me around or when I expire from this world.

    I wish you all the best in your endeavours and hope your wishes come true.


  21. Felice

    Good that you share your dreams with us. There is no need for you to be so apologetic to me. You have as much right to express your opinion as others and there is no harm to disagree with anyone here. I like new ideas and that can only come from people with different likes and experiences.

    It may surprise you that I totally agree with what you say.
    1. I love holiday by the beach and each time I wish I can stay longer.
    2. I also hate seeing doctors, especially when they present me their bills.
    3. I like making friends that is why I am here.
    4. I also like learning if it is easy.

  22. Hi, Tian Soo,

    thank you very much for being SO accepting and open minded
    to an OLD lady’ view..i guess i am older than you.
    May i ask your beach is filled with modern resorts or the real rustic one that ONLY operated by generators HALF of the day..?
    There is the difference, you know.i told my husband he has
    to sew the broken fishing-net with the local Encik to catch our fish for dinner, he just ‘smiles’..and told me he can dive to catch or PAY for his fish.. I bet you are the Same.
    Nobody likes to see Doctors or his bills. But if we are
    preparing RETIREMENT seriously, we have to eat wisely &
    do some exercise so that we have less burden to carry..
    Of course,there is another mental-preparation for MEN out
    there to take note, retirement by staying home too much
    cause conflicts between Couples cos’ we are used to our own
    space and even ‘enjoying’ our solitude all these yrs..
    so OB markers is to be observed.
    So make new friends, and TRY to learn something will make
    your wife appreciating a NEW you.
    Sorry, a little out of topic..but it is a reminder NOT to
    be ignored.
    Hi, Clary,thanks for the best wishes. You are welcome to
    ‘drop by’ my temp nest any where any time..i will keep you
    informed and i enjoy cooking very much and you can help to
    wash up and my hubby will surely welcome you too.
    hope to meet you one of these days.

    Hi, Jacq, i wrote you an email. hope to hear from you.

  23. Delice Lim,
    Come and join us in this Saturday’s Monthly Walk along the newly opened Ponggol Waterway. ..and also alongside a short stretch of the Serangoon River near Halus. It can still be a pleasant experience without going outside our ‘700 sq km’ country.

  24. Hi, Charles, Thank you for the kind invitation..
    i am going to the meeting about Chiangmai by Adean..Is it ON?
    So far Adean didn’t reply to my response.
    Hope you & the rest enjoy your walk..and smell the flowers too..Do you know something ? Sometimes, we LOOK out from the
    SAME window, but SEE a different picture…
    I appreciate the great social-engineering work done by our
    government cos’ of the needs for better urban planning BUT
    these man-made waterway thing may be like another ION for me; my heart cried out to the demise of rustic kampung punggol…anytime, i will join the Mac’Ritchie or Bt Hill reserves..to find my soul. May be, my husband loves the idea.if he is free. Thank you. I am very stubborn..may be,
    you can post the scene pictures for us all to enjoy..am sure
    everyone would appreciate..

  25. Hi, Charles, sorry ! i have arthritis-hand, pls kindly excuse my spellings or other errors ..i do not want to over-use
    the fingers..so pls bear with me. Thank you.
    By the way, my name is Felice.

  26. Felice

    You are very adorable! Straight to the point with no nonsense.

    Thank you for your invitation. I love cooking too and baking :) Are you by any chance Peranakan?

    Looking forward to meeting you someday too.

    P.S. And if there is anyone arranging a trip to Chiangmai and the timing is right, I’d love to go.


  27. Hi Carly,
    Sorry, i am NOT Peranakan but married to one who STILL does
    not admit he is one (identity crisis !)haha
    I am Hakka and proud to be the hardy & tough Hakka lady like the Media Corp ‘The Hakka people” TV series..
    I do not bake much as i do know like the CREAM,MILK,BUTTER,
    SUGAR etc in baking. For home desserts for my hubby who has many “sweet teeth” (not a sweet tooth !i bake his favourites
    apple pie or special healthy version “oatmeal & wholemeal- flour apple crumble ” but still serve with ice cream.
    And also, i make healthy Tiramisu too with No mascapone cheese or cream which many of my guests still like. our family ONLY use 2 blocks of french Butter last yr 2011 which
    is quite an achievement for a foodie family who eat MOST days at home..My kids (24 & 20) & hubby enjoy eating at home
    and i enjoy preparing for them & friends too. i also cook
    for some old folks nearby my area..I wish my arthritis fingers can still carry on for another 10 yrs..as i do not
    have full-time helper. I enjoy my solitude most days so i
    prefer NOT no fulltime help;do you have a herb garden ?
    i have a tiny pot at the back where i harvested some
    3.5 Kilos japanese Pumkins 2 yrs ago..My husband was so proud of my ‘farm’ and all my friends got a Qtr slice…
    Retiring oversea also fulfill my dreams to pick fruits & veg
    at some Organic Farms ..and also go to the local market to
    see NEW ingredients for creating NEW Menu..
    We can meet often to brainstorm recipes.. so see you one of
    these days..

    apple crumble with less sugar & butter ..

  28. Felice

    Hahaha! I like what you say about your hubby’s identity crisis. Peranakans are known to be fastidious in food preparation and good cooks so i thought…. My late husband was Hakka too. I love the “Hakka yong dao hu” which I used to eat at Mosque Street but the business is no longer there and so sad as i dont know where its gone.

    You must be very health conscious. Mmmm… apple crumble a la mode – yummy! Your husband is a lucky man. Your friends and neighbours must love coming by to your home. I love my bread and cookies wholemeal.

    My home is an HDB flat so I only have three potted plants outside my apt. I am lucky that after more than a year, they are surviving cos I “kill” all my plants. I think I have brown fingers. Maybe someone is watering them for me.
    I like Pumpkin soup :)

    Yes, we must catch up someday to exchange recipes.

    Mmmmm! very healthy apple crumble! One slice for me please. Thanks hahaha!


  29. Hi carly,

    I am SO sorry this Hakka wife does not want to learn to prepare PERANAKAN FOOD for her identity-crisis hubby.. and
    his Penang trip every 3 mths can help preventing a family
    I am STILL making my grandmother Yang Dao Fu once a while
    with 70% ikan parang meat & 30& kurobuta minces..No deep
    fried, only braised. Will keep you informed when i plan to
    make again. I also make our very own Fish cake, fish balls or Otak which is slightly modify to a more healthy version.
    Defintely No Belachan in my kitchen. SORRY !

    Pots-gardening is the same, as long as you can pluck some-thing to use for cooking is really satisfying for homechef
    like us. I am trying to grow a special lemon & some tomatoes
    and Yam & ginger this year..apart from the old herbs i have.
    Will start the pumpkin & Zuichini & lady finger in March after a holiday. I made my own Pesto as hubby & elder girl
    love Pasta & Pesto sauce..I make my own compost too.

    Just made Pumpkin & mixed veg soup Today !! wow, really a
    meeting of mind here ..you have hidden camera near my hse ?
    hahaha..Simple dinner this week as we need to get rid of all
    the rich food from CNY’ feastings.

    I usually cook for people who lives alone & people
    with some medical condition or in “distress “..It is a
    a way to show my care for them. sorry, no neighbour as they all have maids and i do not think they like my healthy &
    boring Menu..Once i cooked for 1 week to raise funds
    for some building funds..at the end, i have to sleep for the
    next 2 weeks..mY family ended up eating OUT for the whole
    time..It became a JOKE for my hubby when friends still wants to ORDER for the Yang tau Fu etc ..Funny?? carly, May i know where do you stay ? west ? east ?
    I am in the West. are you going to the meeting on 11th Feb ?
    Do you live with your children ? are you new in SHC ?
    Do you know how to play Chinese Chess ? i like to learn a new hobby this year. Do you like to attend some art shows?
    May be we can do something Once a while..I have a German girl friend who loves baking too.

    You can also reply to lim.felice@gmail.com by email. This is
    a little public to know each other..Thanks . Hope you understand. Nice talking to you !!tomorrow, i am cooking
    some Gyu-don with Koshihikari Rice from Nigatta..Yummy !!
    and some Homemade Green tea Glutinous rice balls & red bean
    for dessert. Usually i serve a full 5 course meal for Sunday
    Lunch/dinner for Japanese meal but as my elder girl is out
    of town and it is mid-week, hubby & I need to lose some KGs
    so just 3 course meal with left over Pumpkin soup.

    Don’t spy my kitchen as i already told you my Menu for tomorrow !! hahaha


  30. Felice

    Alamak! I opened up the page and see what you can cook and what you are going to cook makes me drool! Slurp! Slurp! hahaha! OK promise I wont spy on your kitchen.

    Wow! your life sounds very interesting. I love looking at plants when they bear flowers or fruits cos they are a beautiful sight with all the colours. Makes me very happy :) Very kind of you to share your food with the needy. Oh dear! Sometimes we want to help but the body cannot tahan lah! This charity event on 18 Feb, my colleague donated 9 cartons of Milo ready to drink tetra pak and she gave me the money to buy them. This morning, went to NTUC and lugged them in my trolley. I was praying hard that the wheels dont give way. Now I am aching all over! Aaaarrghhh!

    I will write to your private email.


  31. Hi Felice & Geraldine

    I’ve to call off this Sat meetup on retirement in Chiang Mai as d response isn’t good. I did mention somewhat in other related posts, which I realized it’s kinda difficult to keep track here, unlike other forum web sites :(

    Felice – I share almost all of your thots & wld be nice to chat up on these. I’m more into d rustic feeling too instead of d modern environment. My email is raffady@yahoo.com. Hope to hear from u.

    I’m exploring d flwg options & planning a trip to Chiang Mai to “feel” which wld work, though I hope to get more advice & tips b4 gg plus being able to meet some kind soul there to learn 1st hand from them.

    After reading all d problems with paying a property there, I’m more into getting into some exciting kinda small, leisurely biz where I can also stay at those places, eg

    1) a small B&B outfit where I can keep a room & help out with d biz there
    2) a small cafe where I hv a place to stay above, behind, beside?
    3) a humble wellness resort where I can stay in 1 of d room, get involved in their activities & perhaps even conduct some of these activities
    4) a charity organization tt hv a place for me to stay while I can volunteer my time & perhaps even start a cottage industry there
    5) an small organic veg farm or fruit orchard where I can stay plus help in its operation

    I’m into nature & am looking for a place where there’s
    – water (river, lake)
    – trees (forest, farm, orchard)
    – “vegetarian” (no animals being killed, animal products being used)

    I’m not d type tt can stay put & do nothing, else I’ll die faster! hahaha … so I must be involved in some kinda biz, but more leisurely, less stressful type.

    Can I find these in Chiang Mai? Wld like to explore some of these places when I’m there. Any recommendations?

    As I’ve an elderly mother to take care of, I’ve to plan my trip carefully as I need to find someone to look after her while I’m away. Hence i can’t just leave & stay long long as much as I wish to.

    Hope to hear more advice, tips, recommendations, etc from all u kind souls! Hv a great weekend ahead :)

  32. Hi,Aeden,

    SO disappointed that the meeting is called off ! SAD!SAD!SAD!
    Your ‘baby step’ could not even take off..SO SORRY !!
    Anyway, glad to share your idea of Cafe type of biz cos’it
    WAS a dream to have my little rustic Cafe decorated with some
    lovely art pcs & serve my food with special porcelains etc..
    eg. you are free to choose the Colours & designs of the porcelains, may be to match the colour of your outfit or the
    sunny/cloudy/depressed/drown mood you have that particular day..etc etc.But Sadly, all these became ONLY a dream that
    faded with raising my 2 girls,,BUT I WOULD BE MOST HAPPY TO
    COOK FOR a Cafe/BIstro as a Temp Resident Chef for 2 mths
    anyway..provided there is intergrity in the ingredients etc.
    My English friend bought an old Chateau in some country area,and i am waiting for her to do the restoration and go
    there as her temp resident chef as she suggested..NICE ? Can
    you imagine the french/English eating my special Salmon
    fried rice or pan fried Soy chicken cutlet or Halibut braised with black bean & minced garlic….
    Of course, i will be given a place to stay and hubby can enjoy his golf & tour the winery & catch up his reading..
    and we can have long WALKS in the woods,pick some wild
    mushrooms for the week etc…So Aeden, can i apply to be your R chef in your Cafe in CMai ? haaha..But ONLY Temp RChef !!GLAD to know someone like you sharing the same dream
    for our golden years..Cheers!
    Do you cook ?

  33. Hi,Carly,

    My life is quite dull for most people..but it is FINE for me.
    My younger girl always told me to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE,mum!!!
    Both the girls laughed at me when i went to MIshop to sort
    out my HP card and i went to Jurong East instead of Boon Lay!
    Whatever !! i though the mall got a name ‘Jurong’ mean in Jourong East..Hubby said “unbelievable!!”BUT i know how to navigate myself around when i travel oversea cos’ i did much
    research before i went..Eg. 10 yrs ago, we tagged along hubby on a business trip to Melbourne and i thought while
    Daddy went for meeting, why NOT mummy took the 2 girls for
    “Round the Bay in a Day” trip..you know, from the service apt to Flinders’ Street Rail station, caught the 9.30am train to Franston..and took a Coach to Sorrento..had lunch
    (best King George Whitteing) & 2 Gellato..and caught the BIG
    ferry to Queenclief..walked around..took the coach to Geelong and train back to Melbourne..and reached the Apt almost 7.00pm where Hubby WAS at the door WAITING…anxiously. Our kids asked ‘Mum,have you done this
    trip before Today.?” i said, No.this is the 1st Time, isn’t
    it FUN ?” They answered, “Oh, Mum, fancy WE trusted you !!”
    Hubby just smiled & said,” your mum always has SURPRISES !!”
    you know, he NEVER did things like this though he flew in
    & Out there monthly..and didn’t know King George Whitteings
    are the best fish to eat there..
    Here in Singapore i live in the same area for decades..and
    could not imagine i have to move out of the estate..guess,
    i have a wandering soul outside Sg but stay satisfied &
    homely when back to Sg. haha hubby said i need to regain my
    sanity outside Sg when i get cranky at home….
    Well, since only 3 of us are keen on ChiangM..bet no body
    is keen in the Robinson island i mention in my last post
    where Only Generators are used..It is Ok.

  34. Hi Felice
    Great to find someone who share so much similar interest & thots like me :)

    Can tell u’re a great cook & hv lotsa passion about food! I’m ok cook, simple meals & am becoming more vegetarian.

    Did F&B catering for some years in d USA, worked in kitchens but not heavy cooking. Did lots of American weddings & they luv my setup, deco & garnishing :) Catering during extreme cold winters were no fun :( I did a bar tendering course too :) I tell ppl I die for desserts :)

    I wanna badly to hv a cafe near water & trees after a trip in NZ where we stopped at a cafe in a pine forest near a cliff. The feeling then, there, was just fantastic!!! … kinda “impossible” here in Sg, hence looking overseas :)

    If u come cook in “My Cafe” overseas, u may not wanna go back to Sg after tt :)

    Robinson Island in Hawaii? Just went Hawaii last Aug (see my Facebook) & gone to Honolulu 3 times :) Luv Hawaii :)

    OK, we chat more offline lah & hope maybe to meet over tea someday soon :) Tks for all your sharing :)

  35. Hi Aeden,
    Sorry, the Robinson island i meant was Pulau Besar, Sibu
    in Malaysia off Johore..where the german Tv filmed their version of ‘Survival” TV series ..

    we stopped going there 8 yrs ago when teenagers-children had
    Debate, sports, choir etc etc …luckily, we did this Islands
    trips with them before IT became too touristy..Children’ memories should be magical & colourful is one of my motto.

  36. Aeden,
    are you going to the meeting tomorrow ? terrance said it
    is still ON..I am new and no other lady there, i am a little
    unsure …Pls reply ASAP. Thank you.

  37. HI Felice,

    How was the Chiang Mai talk on 11 Feb? Would you like to share with us, the points that you have taken with you?

    I look forward to hear your comments.

  38. How about you, Aedan?

    How was your very “first step in your journey of a thousand miles”?

    Did you find out some exciting facts about retirement/living in Chiang Mai? Do share with us what are the things that you have learned from the Chiang Mai talk.

  39. Hey Jassmine –

    Did you managed to gather some info for your “think tank”???

    I am sure you did. Can let some thoughts “overflow” from the “think tank”? Please share the info with us, boring or exciting? I don’t mind, let’s hear it.

    (I couldn’t attend the talk, as I have already made other plans for that day.)

  40. Hi Jac #43

    The talk was good and quite spicy! What i took away from the talk…

    1. red tape – in Thailand there are ways to get around the red tape. Many things can be done there for a few $

    (Aside: including hiring someone to inject you with poison when you feel it’s time to go into the good night!)

    2. Dreams vs realities – very important to distinguish between your dreams and the realities in the foreign country. Make sure you know the realities before venturing out, therwise…

    3. Expenses – In CM one can get by/live comfortably on $300 – $500 a mth, excluding accommodation which can be free if it’s a temple (wow!)

    (Aside: Vincent knows a monk and can recommend…but monastery is not in CM)

    Another accommodation idea: can park a container/campervan? on vacant land. But how to find out who owns the land?

    Easy – either urinate on the land and see who comes scolding “Stop! This is MY land!” (Aside: KC knows a lot of short cuts!)

    -or have a chat with the village head. He’s the resource person.

    4. Advice – Take the first step by staying a month in CM on a tourist visa. Then decide on second step.

    (Aside: Better take advice. Remember, no romantic notions!Must know the realities.)

    That’s about all i can remember… :)

  41. Hi Jassmine at #44

    Thanks a lot for the feedback.

    You are THE POET of SHC. I didn;t realize you are quite the stand up comedian, as well!

    I enjoy reading your comment at #44. Especially your advice –

    “4. Advice – Take the first step by staying a month in CM on a tourist visa. Then decide on second step.”

    Do let me know when you are taking that one month trip to CM. I just might come along, if the timing is right.

    Let’s meet for lunch when you are not so busy.

    Till then, keep in touch.

    With best regards,

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